DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Food poisoning, also called food-borne illness, is illness caused by eating contaminated food. Infectious organisms — including various bacteria, viruses and parasites — or their toxins are the most common causes of food poisoning.
Infectious organisms or their toxins can contaminate food at any point during its processing or production. Contamination can also occur at home if food is incorrectly handled or cooked.
Food poisoning symptoms often include nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, which can start just hours after eating contaminated food. Most often, food poisoning is mild and resolves without treatment. But some cases are severe, requiring hospitalization.
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